A trip to Chip and Joanna Gains "Magnolia Kingdom"
If you are at all like me and my family, or most of America at the moment, “Chip and Joanna Gains” are words used on the regular, along with “shiplap”, “farmstyle” and the phrase “HOW does she look so stinkin good in just a T-shirt and a baseball cap!?!?!”. If for SOME reason you are a part of the small percentage of Americans who has NOT jumped on the “Fixer Upper” band-wagon yet, all you need to do is flip your closest cable-enabled television to HGTV where, lucky for you, this show seems to be on ALL the time and will probably continue to be for the next 20+ years. Joanna’s impeccable taste and ability to make the “farm-style” somehow look modern and chic, mixed with Chip’s goofy humor, recklessness, eating random things and overall shenanigans combine perfectly to give viewers a VERY entertaining hour of escape from our perhaps not so well decorated lives. This is by far our favorite show to watch on TV right now (and a bit of a treat since we don't get cable ourselves), so when it came time to plan our trip across the United States on our move from CA to MD, of COURSE the first thing I asked was if we could stop in Waco to visit the Gains.
Ok, obviously not them personally, but between the Magnolia Silos, Silos Bakery, and their newly opened restaurant the “Magnolia Table”, Chip and Jo have turned Waco into quite the tourist destination! (No joke, I even saw a whole group of women dressed in matching T-shirts that said something about not stopping till they reached the silos!) Basically, Waco has now become the middle-aged American woman's “Disneyland”, lines and all! Hence me dubbing it the "Magnolia Kingdom", containing it very own type of Magic and making the dreams and wishes of us "wanna-be interior decorators" everywhere come true!
So, in case you are also planning or dreaming about visiting the Gains' empire anytime soon, here is how our experience was and some helpful things to know!
Since the “Magnolia Table” has only been open about a month at this point, we had no idea what to expect when it came to the wait at the restaurant, but being pretty exhausted from a nearly 14 hour day of travel the day before, we didn’t make it to the restaurant until 7:30 a.m. (their hours are 6am to 3pm). I hopped out to wait in line while my husband went to park (the parking was not too bad at the time and he was able to get a spot right in the lot). I ended up standing in a line that was simply to put your name in with the hostess for about 15 minutes. At first I was a little worried, wondering how long I had to stand in line to then again stand in line, but soon a staff member was there greeting people in line, handing out menus, and explaining the process. Once I reached the hostess, I gave her my name, number in my party and my phone number, and I was immediately sent a text and was able to access a page that told me how many parties were in front of me to be seated first and an estimate of how long that would take, and I was able to continually update this page!
Then we were free to walk around and explore the “take away Market” and get some coffee while we waited. There was also a large courtyard area with PLENTY of seating available, and I have to admit the whole thing was absolutly gorgeous, which you might expect coming from Joanna and learning that they sunk over 2 MILLION into the place! After about 35 minutes my phone received a text saying to proceed to the hostess stand, and we were then shown inside to our seats. Since it was only the two of us, we had said yes to the option of “bar seating” or being placed at a “community table”. We ended up getting placed at the tall bar tables in front of the windows into the take-away area, which I have to admit was pretty entertaining to watch the variety of people shopping about two feet away from us while we scarfed down our delicious breakfast.
My husband ordered the Avocado Toast (just too see which side of the argument he fell on) and we both had to admit it was pretty delicious! Definitely worth honking for! He also then ordered the French Toast Breakfast and I ordered the Farm Breakfast with Jo’s “famous” biscuits and strawberry butter.
Everything was as delicious as it sounds, and we were so full we couldn’t even finish all our food!
We of course had to check out the beautiful bathrooms before paying our check and heading out. Ironically enough, at the Silos we ran in to some friends from the small town in Minnesota where I grew up who said they had arrived for breakfast before the restaurant even opened, and there were only 5 people in line at that time, but I also heard one of the staff say that at one point the wait had been over 3 hours the day before, so I would definitely say the earlier the better! Trust me, this experience is WORTH waking up early for! Over all it was actually a very streamlined, efficient and enjoyable process and took us under two hours! Obviously, our next stop was the Silos!
Not even 10 minutes away from the restaurants, the Magnolia Silo’s sit on a large property that conatine the Silo Baking Co., a large variety of food trucks, a giant courtyard, Jo’s garden and for the main event, a large and magical barn full of decorative wonders each marked with Jo’s official stamp of approval! Ok, maybe not quite so literal but everything is certainly in the “classy farm” style we have all come to love, from linen smelling candles to metal cut-out signs for your walls. For about the price of 30 Texan acres, you too could live in a house that looks like it was decorated by Joanna Gains. And obviously this stuff is FAR superior to the cheap knock off crap they sell at Target now Jo just slaps her name on to!!
Ok, is it all a little over rated? Yes. But is it fun to see and experience for yourself? Absolutely. We made it out alive with only one small decoration, a tank top and Chip’s newest book “Capital Gains” on audio book for our road trip (well worth the money and so far about the only thing we to can agree on listening too!).
Of course, we had to grab cupcakes at the Silo Baking Co. before we headed out, which WERE delicious, but I wish I has simply purchased those at the Magnolia Table “Take Away” area with only a two-minute wait instead of about twenty.
Still, even this process was pretty streamlined. Even though the line was out the door and quite aways around the corner, they handed out pencils and cards for you to write down you order, hand to the cashier once you got there and pay, and then wait for your name to be called. Again, all very efficient and not as bad a wait and process as it first looked. Unfortunately for us, the food trucks didn’t open until 11, though not that the we could have eaten anything for a least a few more hours anyways. There was also a band that looked like it was setting up to play some live music in front of the silos, but we were eager to hit the road again, so we walked back to our car to head out right as it began to sprinkle rain. We parked about four blocks away so as to avoid paying $10 to park in the lots. All together we spent about 3.5 hours between the restaurant and the market. While I wouldn’t necessarily say it fulfilled all my "HGTV dreams", it was fun to see and experience everything and I am very glad we made it a stop on our way! If, however, you are going to Waco for longer than 4 hours, you might want to plan something else fun to do with the other 20 hours of your day!
Watch this video I took for a sneak-peak of inside the Magnolia Market!